January is a month of huge festivals all around Costa Rica, with dry season starting, North Americans trying to escape winter, and locals tirelessly celebrating summer, parties are never hard to find. One of the big festivals is held each year in Santa Cruz, a small city not far from Hojancha, where all of the Tropical Adventures employees and interns live. This allowed us all to spontaneously plan a trip and experience this festival.
2.5 hours before we left Hojancha, we decided to take a taxi-van, which took us to Santa Cruz and back to Hojancha later that night. The process of finding a large taxi was managed in a very Tico way – using the social network, not knowing if there would be someone willing to take us or not knowing who is going to the festival with us. However, the contagious relaxed atmosphere discouraged us from being worried: Keep Calm and Pura Vida.
Eventually, we found ourselves with 10 other people in the taxi-van, heading to Santa Cruz. Everyone was really excited about getting to the fiesta and after a 45-minute drive, we finally arrived in Santa Cruz and immediately started to explore and enjoy the event.
Coming from European countries, this city festival was something 100% different from what you normally attend back home. Streets were very crowded; people were dancing, drinking, singing, riding horses and watching bullfights. We arrived in a large group, and intended to stay together, however, this turned out to be a challenge considering the amount of people and excitement of everyone. Luckily, we were able to find a perfect spot to stop for a while, enjoying the atmosphere, drinking and eating some of the typical foods.
Later that night, we also attended a concert, which was definitely a highlight of the festival. Many musicians performed and thousands of people enjoyed typical Latino rhythms. The hype of the concert was incredible and even the biggest layabout would have fun.
We planned to meet the taxi driver at 1am, so we slowly made our way to the meeting point. On the way, we passed some of those crazy roller coasters while we finished our last bowls of rice, slices of pizza and empanadas. We arrived at the meeting point at quarter to 1, expecting our driver to be waiting. Dazed by all the experiences, we forgot about the ‘Tico time’ (where it is acceptable and expected for people to be late for anything and everything). After approximately an hour, just as we were thinking we would have to sleep under the open sky and on the concrete sidewalk, our driver finally arrived! It is hard to describe our excitement when we finally sat in the van, heading back to Hojancha.
Festivals in Costa Rica are different, temperament and full of joy. If you travel around the country, do not miss the opportunity to attend some. It is definitely an amazing experience and it could help you to understand the Costa Rican culture more.
Written by Stepan